Orphaned weasel returned to wild

This baby weasel was found by a woman in San Juan Bautista.

Looking out her window one day, a woman in San Juan Bautista was
startled to see an unusual creature sitting on her driveway.
She brought the tiny, orphaned baby animal to the Wildlife
Education and Rehabilitation Center in Morgan Hill, where staffers
were also astounded to be gazing at a female long-tailed weasel, a
rarely seen animal in California.
Looking out her window one day, a woman in San Juan Bautista was startled to see an unusual creature sitting on her driveway.

She brought the tiny, orphaned baby animal to the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center in Morgan Hill, where staffers were also astounded to be gazing at a female long-tailed weasel, a rarely seen animal in California.

Less than six inches long, the weasel was placed in a terrarium fitted with a small wooden box, cardboard tubes and furry bedding. She became such an energetic creature that in her later pictures she was usually just a blur.

Soon, she outgrew the terrarium. After researching weasel behavior and natural history, volunteers created a habitat in one of W.E.R.C.’s large outdoor enclosures. PVC pipes served as a maze of tunnels, with open holes for her to pop through.

Apparently, those weren’t enough for her – she dug her own tunnels in the dirt around the enclosure.

Weasels are slender and flexible and can follow small rodents into their burrows.

Within three months, she was healthy, mature and behaving like a wild weasel. It took 15 minutes to catch her for her release at the location she was found. When the weasel was finally caught, she measured 15 inches from head to tip of tail, which is the normal adult length of a female.

The lady from San Juan Bautista was delighted to have the mouse catcher back in her fields.

W.E.R.C. provides the community with rehabilitation services for orphaned, injured and sick native wildlife. W.E.R.C. encourages a peaceful coexistence between civilization and native wildlife. For more information, call (408) 779-9372 or visit www.werc-ca.org.

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